India Current Affairs [Gov. & Politics]

Latest India Current Affairs and Current Affairs related to Government policy, polity and administration in India. India’s National Current Affairs updates for 2019.

DRDO establishes COVID-19 testing facility in DIHAR, Leh

The Defence Research Development Organization has established a COVID-19 testing facility in Leh. The research facility was set up at Defence Institute of High Altitude Research (DIHAR).

Highlights

The facility will identify COVID-19 cases in the union territory of Ladakh. The facility is capable screening 50 samples a day. The testing facility was inaugurated by Ladakh Lieutenant Governor R K Mathur.

Background

The COVID-19 has infected 1,206 people in Ladakh. The facility is to be used to train manpower for COVID-19 testing. Also, it will help address future bio-threats.

DIHAR

DIHAR laboratories is working on cold agro animal technologies. It is currently screening and identifying medicinal and aromatic plants to use them for defence purposes. Also, the laboratory is working on Greenhouse technologies for high altitude and cold desert areas.

The DIHAR was established in 1962 in the name of Field Research Laboratory. It was renamed as DIHAR in 2008. The main aim of DIHAR was to make the hostile terrain of cold arid desert of Ladakh reasonably green.

GoI: “N95 masks with respiratory valves does not prevent COVID-19”

The Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan recently announced that the N95 masks with valved respirators do not prevent COVID-19 from spreading out.

What are N95 masks?

The N95 masks are protective equipment that protects the wearers from airborne particles contaminating the face. The N95 masks filter particles that are less than 300 nano metres. The size of COVID-19 virus is between 65-125 nano metres.

Function of valve in N95 masks

The valve in N95 masks is a plastic gasket that filters air inhaled by the person and blocks entry of pathogens. The valve helps to prevent humidity, reduce heat and carbon-dioxide build up in the mask.

Concerns

The Health Ministry states that N95 masks with valved respirators do not prevent virus from escaping out of the mask. It is a one-way mask. It only protects the person wearing the mask and does not filter aerosols coming out. Therefore, when an asymptomatic patient of COVID-19 wears the mask, he can easily spread the infection to others when the valve releases unfiltered air.

Asymptomatic patient is a person who shows no COVID-19 symptoms but is still infected by the virus. He is in his early stages.

Solution

The Health Ministry advises to use masks made of cloth, preferably cotton as an alternate to N95 masks.